The Grand Lodge recently issued a new Privacy & Social Media Policy Manual that is now available for download in the Manual’s section of Elks.org. The policy manual provides general guidelines, e-mail policy, Elk E-mail accounts, Lodge Bulletin Board policy, Lodge Newsletter Policy, and social media including Facebook, Twitter, and others. The purpose of this policy manual is to educate Lodge Officers, Committees, and Members about how to communicate in today’s world and still adhere to the Rules and Regulations of the Order. The policy is not a stand-alone product but serves as a companion to the Grand Lodge Statutes, Bylaws, and Regulations of your Lodge, District, and State Association.
E-mail policy covers both personal and corporate e-mail accounts. As an example, Employers have access to all corporate e-mail accounts. For that reason, no discussions of a sensitive nature or that pertains to confidential matters of the Order should be conducted through an employer’s system. The policy also covers E-mail accounts of Lodges, Districts, and State Associations.
The Lodge Bulletin Board policy covers the posting of private information related to the happenings of a Lodge Meeting, such as posting the meeting minutes, financial reports, or committee reports. It is the Grand Lodge policy to not allow these to be posted on the bulletin board. The Lodge should never post photos or other information related to a person receiving aid without the permission of such person or their parent or legal guardian. The same applies to members or guests. No Advertising of goods or services by a member should be posted that identifies the person as a member of the Lodge or the Order. (So long as advertising is allowed and reference to membership status is not used, a member may advertise the same as a non-member.) These same policies also apply to a Lodge newsletter and social media as well.
Social Media accounts of Lodges, Districts, State Association, Committees, Commissions, and similar organizations that fall under the Elks umbrella. Always refrain from posting private matters of the Order in non-private areas of social media or personal social media accounts that do not have password protected areas for members only. Do not publish any material that is insulting, defamatory, discriminatory, or could in any way have the Elks viewed in a negative light or bring risk of liability against the Elks, any Lodge, State Association, or Member under its umbrella. This includes criticizing decisions made in the Lodge, State Association, or at the Grand Lodge.
While there are a lot of “don’ts,” when it comes to posting of information, members, Lodges, and State Associations are welcome to actively use social media, websites, and e-mail to publicize community events, report on the success of your activities and community service, to recognize and honor our veterans and our great nation, and to encourage like-minded readers to want to find out about all of the great things they are missing out on until they become an Elk
The bottom line is that we must be respectful to others, maintain and protect the confidentiality of the Order and of our members. We should do well to remember that we always protect the good names of our members and their families. Please use common sense when posting and use social media to help spread the message of Elkdom.
You can obtain a copy of this new policy manual here: downloadPDF.cfm (elks.org)